ACMA Provide Update for Action Taken on Interactive Gambling: July to September 2023
- We looked into 612 enquiries and complaints
- We completed 9 investigations into 12 gambling sites
- We found 13 breaches of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA)
- We issued 5 formal warnings
- We referred 49 websites to internet service providers for blocking
- We reported 18 URLs to family-friendly filter providers
A compliance priority
We have identified minimising gambling harm as one of our compliance priorities for 2022–23. This includes taking action against illegal offshore wagering providers targeting Australians – particularly during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
During the World Cup, we monitored over 200 offshore gambling sites. We identified those that appeared to be providing unlicensed wagering services to Australians. We commenced the first round of investigations into these services and finalised 2 investigations in this quarter.
Australian users of illegal wagering services have minimal, if any, consumer protections. They:
- risk losing funds
- are exposed to an environment where harm minimisation measures are generally not in place.
Offshore wagering services present an additional risk to punters. They typically offer online in-play betting, which can involve very short-term and repetitive betting. These are characteristics of high-risk forms of gambling.
Consumer awareness campaign
We conducted a consumer awareness campaign between July and August 2023 in conjunction with the Women’s World Cup. It aimed to:
- alert consumers to the risks and lack of protections when using illegal offshore gambling sites
- raise awareness that the offshore gambling sites on offer to Australians are provided illegally.
The campaign also directed consumers to information on our website about illegal gambling operators and the risks involved.
Learn more about protecting yourself from illegal gaming and wagering services.
Enquiries and complaints
Of the 612 enquiries and complaints we received, 555 (90%) were valid complaints that we could investigate under the IGA.
We received 83 complaints and 20 enquiries in July; 230 complaints and 19 enquiries in August, and 242 complaints and 18 enquiries in September.
* We received a significant volume of complaints during this quarter. Some of these were included in the complaints statistics above. Others (1146) were re-classified and will be dealt with separately to the complaints and enquiries.
Make a complaint about a service you think is illegal.
We completed 9 investigations into 12 gambling sites. We found one or more breaches of the IGA in 7 investigations. There were 13 findings of breaches:
- 10 for providing a prohibited service to Australian customers
- 2 for providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to Australian customers
- one for advertising a prohibited or unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service in Australia.
Types of breaches
Enforcement and disruption action
We issued 5 formal warnings to providers:
- Dama N.V. for providing prohibited interactive gambling services (Just Casino, Betandplay and Play Fina).
- Strukin Limited for providing prohibited interactive gambling services (Just Casino, Betandplay and Play Fina).
- Beforelity Solutions N.V. for providing a prohibited interactive gambling service (Comic Play Casino).
- Milvus Limited for providing a prohibited and unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service (BetUS).
- Best Bookies Price Pty Ltd for providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service (Best Bookies).
We reported 18 URLs to accredited family-friendly filter providers for inclusion in the sites blocked when the filters are installed.
We have continued website blocking of services found in breach of the IGA. Most are casino-style services offering games like blackjack, roulette, poker and slots. A number of the sites also provided wagering services without an Australian licence. It is an offence to provide or advertise these types of services to customers in Australia.
We blocked the following 49 websites. These relate to illegal gambling services, and include alternate sites set up to evade the blocks. See the full list of websites that have been blocked.
SOURCE: Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).